Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

I have a friend who can’t catch a break. Today was his first day at Sinclair. Somehow, it also turned into a stay at the Montgomery County jail. So much for trying to start your life over.

He’s been out of prison for 6 months. He’s been in to see his parole officer every month like clockwork. He’s paying his fines, he’s paying the State for his parole (that’s right, you get charged a fee to be on post release control). He’s been working. He hasn’t been drinking. Doing all the right things.

Except, being an ex-con in America is really hard.

Every time you talk to a police officer, they get an opportunity to ask you your SSN- and run it though a computer. Today, he got into some kind of argument with someone over bumping into someone. Something really stupid. In his paranoia- and attempt to walk straight- he called campus security to let them know what had happened and that he felt threatened. Next thing you know- they are telling him he has a warrant for disorderly conduct- from 2005!

Go to jail, go directly to jail.

He gets his call. They won’t let him bond out because of his record. It’s after hours- so they can’t check with his PO about his status. No Judge will see him till 1:30 pm tomorrow.

Another day- another setback.

My question is: if there was a warrant out, and he had seen his PO at least 6 times, and she failed to act- to arrest him, to clear him- anything, what is she getting paid for? He was locked up for 3 years, they knew where he was, they’ve known where he was- and yet, here he is, on his first day in school- getting taken off campus in handcuffs.

Way to start the new year off, way to start on a new opportunity. Way to cut another scar into a life that the system hasn’t done a very good job of taking care of from the start.

Will the PO lose her job? Will the PO say she’s sorry? Will he be paid for the time he misses work? Or is incarcerated against all logic? Nope. It’s just another dumb criminal getting abused by the system.

Only this one- had a 3.98 gpa when he was in the can for that last 3 year stint. He’s trying to do his part. When will the system hold up it’s part of the deal?

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24 Responses

  1. Gene January 6, 2009 / 8:32 pm
    Blame the PO for the guy committing a crime in the first place. Place blame where it does not belong.

    Maybe your friend should have not screwed up in the first place. It is your friends fault that he is in the situation that he is in.

    I am old. Never been arrested. Never committed a crime (that I will admit to) never had a run in with the cops. I don’t get in arguments. Maybe your friend should not get into arguments either.

    He just does not get it. Walk away.

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  2. Don E. January 6, 2009 / 8:34 pm
    Seriously, Sinclair Police have nothing better to do. Most of there time is spent walking around yelling at people for having their feet on the library furniture (gasp!). Seriously, someone should check their records and see what real good they provide. Personally, I don’t see why Dayton Police across the street can’t patrol campus.

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  3. AnotherGuy January 6, 2009 / 9:45 pm
    That sucks so bad.

    Gene – I don’t think anyone was blaming the PO. I think more there is a question over what the PO should have been doing though. For example, had the PO done something about this warrant prior to today, then the friend would not have been sent to jail at the beginning of a new school year.

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  4. In the 'burg January 6, 2009 / 10:22 pm
    It’s not always about choices and consequences, Gene. Some people face obstacles in life that are almost insurmountable.

    If you had been dealt the hand that this guy was dealt, you wouldn’t be any better off than he is. You can go ahead and congratulate yourself all you want for being a big success, but until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes, you have no reason to act so smugly superior.

    Anyone who knows him is impressed with his intelligence, his insight, and his sincere desire to overcome his circumstances. Since you DON’T know him, your opinion isn’t valid.

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  5. Gene January 6, 2009 / 10:52 pm
    Really. I did not realize you knew me, where I come from, my background.

    I grew up poor. My dad beat me. I have walked in a lot of people’s shoes, thank you. I made it through these time without going to jail.

    I don’t know him, but I know a lot of losers like him who always have excuses.

    What did he do anyway? beat someone? He is such a good boy.

    Am I superior? Yes, I have not committed a crime, this guy has. For the majority of people, you are a loser if you go to jail, if you are guilty of committing a crime. I lost a brother in an auto accident bc the fuc*er was stoned. A stoned loser. Who, btw, had been to jail before. A G.D. F*CKING LOSER. Most are just that, losers.

    This guy may be different, I hope so. I am just giving my point of view. If you have run ins with the law it is ALWAYS your fault. I avoided it. They don’t arrest you for being nice and behaving.
    Next.

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  6. In the 'burg January 6, 2009 / 11:41 pm
    “If you have run ins with the law it is ALWAYS your fault. I avoided it. They don’t arrest you for being nice and behaving.”

    Bull! Ask any cop or prosecutor what a DWB is, and they’ll laugh and say “Driving While Black.”

    One of my closest friends is a doctor at Kettering who was followed home from the Walmart in Moraine, illegally searched, detained, and questioned for 3 hours just for “looking suspicious” (ie having dark skin and an accent). The geniuses on patrol were convinced he had a terrorist plot to blow up the store.

    The fact is, if you’re rich and white you get some latitude. If you’re poor and/or a member of a minority, you not only get zero tolerance, sometimes you’re actually targeted.

    I happen to be white and I’m in the top 10% for income, but I used to drive a crappy toyota—mostly because it was paid for and it got me where I wanted to go. But I used to get pulled over all the time for trumped-up, bullshit “offenses” in a certain jurisdiction. Finally, I got sick of being harassed, so I bought a BMW, changed my license plates, and haven’t been stopped since. In fact, the morons tip their hats when I drive by.

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  7. Gene January 6, 2009 / 11:52 pm
    BMW, Nice!!!!!!!

    You are right – some people are targeted. But was this guy? Doubt it.

    Top 10% – in the USA that equates to $122k/year last time I saw the data – certainly less today.

    So you have cash, they don’t screw with you – but I will bet you a doughnut that you don’t break the law. The don’t arrest you for being nice and behaving.

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  8. In the 'burg January 7, 2009 / 12:03 am
    All I know is, I got stopped all the time for driving a crappy car. They would usually say I was speeding… Once they pulled me over for going 29 in a 25!
    They were probably figuring they would discover some “real” crime (drugs, no insurance, etc.) once they stopped me. They were also hoping I couldn’t afford a lawyer. They were wrong on both counts.

    But the bottom line is, I have the luxury of being able to mouth off to a cop just because I’m in a certain demographic. If I were in a different demographic, I would go to prison for 3 years for that, just like David’s friend did.

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  9. Gene January 7, 2009 / 12:34 am
    29 in a 25 is too fast. 29 is 29. 25 is 25. Was it the car’s fault?

    Why in the world would you mouth off to a cop? I would never think of it……….WHY? bc they will arrest you if you are an asshole. I would cooperate at all costs.

    It really is that simple sometimes.

    You guys remind me of my friend Harold. He always gets himself in a bind (not necessarily with the law) like locking his keys in the car, losing pay checks, losing glasses, losing jobs, etc………………………

    Same thing with him as you guys – it is always someone else’s fault.
    Take a look in the mirror once in a while folks, 99% of people in jail broke the law.

    Hell, David want to enforce the smoking law but not drug laws of warrant laws etc……… go figuare. To the libby lib libs and the thought process of a 17 year old male on Viagra. One way for you guys, huh?

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  10. In the 'burg January 7, 2009 / 5:51 am
    Gene, “29 in a 25” is well within the margin of error for his “visual estimate” (not RADAR measurement) of my speed. That’s why it didn’t hold up in court. I was being picked on strictly because of what I was driving.

    As for mouthing off to a cop: when I do it, it’s considered to be “having a discussion and expressing a legitimate concern to a police officer”. When other people do it, it’s often called “disorderly conduct” or “resisting arrest” or worse. A lot depends on who the cop thinks he’s dealing with.

    When I am in the wrong, I admit it and accept the consequences. When I am being blatantly harassed by the police, I am not afraid to let them know that I know what’s going on, that I know my rights, that I can prove I’m not guilty, and that I intend to defend myself against the charges. This is not a police state. We are not supposed to fear the police. Right?

    Cops can use their discretion. They can give you a warning or haul you off to jail. Some people are more likely to get a warning. Some people never get a break.

    Whether you choose to believe it or not, profiling and discrimination happen.

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  11. Another Civil Servant January 7, 2009 / 9:07 am
    As a former PO… First, there are warrants, especially through the City of Dayton, which do not make it into the NCIC system, therefore making it difficult for PO’s and other release agencies to find. Second, just because the guy did three years, does not mean that he is “excused” of previous crimes, no matter how small.
    Third, in today’s society, economy, budget situation, PO’s have caseloads which double the size of those two or three years ago. It has become almost impossible for a PO to take a personal approach to a client.

    Not only has the caseload gotten so much greater, the reporting requirements and the paperwork required have become incredibly cumbersome.

    Believe me, ALL of the PO’s that I know and worked with want to make a difference in the lives of their clients. No one wants a client to fail. Trust me, the paperwork to release someone successfully from parole or probation is sooooo much easier than the paperwork to send someone back to prison!!!

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  12. Dad January 7, 2009 / 8:13 am
    I have a friend who is not black, has a degree from Cornell, and speaks cultured English. He just spent some three years in California’s overcrowded, unhealthy prison system for a white-collar crime. Throughout his prison stay, he had a typewriter in his cell and sent articles to several publications. Then came release and parole — along with humiliating restrictions on his life after prison. He could not buy a house in the section of Los Angeles he desired, his mail in both directions was under scrutiny, and he was even restricted in his ability to buy a computer so he could use it for e-mail.

    There came a point where he was in technical violation of his parole and he himself informed his parole officer — and ended up with another three months in prison.

    Instead of helping him readjust to the outside world, his parole officer and the penal system did everything they could to thwart it, even preventing him from receiving U.S. mail. And this guy is not poor and black and looking for any handouts.

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  13. Allison January 7, 2009 / 9:23 am
    Like Gene, I don’t know your friend, and I disagree that our comments aren’t valid. I only know what I read in your post and my comments are based on the (obviously) favorable comments you made about him. I believe that people find their own trouble, and your friend seems to do that with some regularity.

    I work, I don’t drink, I do all the right things, too. I am also a middle-aged Sinclair student (graduate after this quarter), and I’ve never had a moment of trouble at the school – not with students, police, or anyone else.

    I appreciate that the state charges parolees for their servivces, as I don’t particularly care to pay for them.

    Honestly, the statement “Today, he got into some kind of argument with someone over bumping into someone. Something really stupid. In his paranoia- and attempt to walk straight- he called campus security to let them know what had happened and that he felt threatened” sounds like something a parent would say to defend their troublemaker son.

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  14. Donald Phillips January 7, 2009 / 12:12 pm
    Since states no longer have the money to finance the prison industrial complex, the days of criminalizing freedom are hopefully over. There are way too many people behind bars who don’t belong there because someone else is turning a dollar on it.

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  15. PlanetDayton January 7, 2009 / 12:34 pm
    Did I read this correctly?

    “My question is: if there was a warrant out, and he had seen his PO at least 6 times …”

    If there’s warrent out [for your friend I assume] how is he not in the clink, PO or otherwise?

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  16. David Esrati January 7, 2009 / 2:13 pm

    @Planet Dayton- he wasn’t in the clink because Dayton doesn’t do a very good job of taking care of their warrants.
    Update to all: He saw the judge at 11am and is now home.
    If you think about how many tax dollars were just wasted on this unnecessary overnight stay in the county lock-up.
    The fact that these warrants aren’t showing up in the PO’s system- makes me wonder if Dayton has any clue about how to do IT.
    Greene county warrants came up on the PO’s system- and he has dealt with them.
    The supervisor of his PO absolutely would not admit that either his PO had failed him- or that the State’s system is failing.

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  17. Gene January 7, 2009 / 2:44 pm
    He failed himself first, always remember that. If he was on the straight and narrow he would never have to worry about PO’s or the State.

    He screwed up in Greene Co. too. Sounds like a winner here David.

    Next time throw away the key.

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  18. The Villain January 7, 2009 / 3:34 pm
    Hello there to all. Make no mistake about “the loser’s” accountability (that would be me Gene, since it appears you need a little help understanding some things), I make zero excuses for my past. As to my most recent event, I didn’t get into an argument with anyone. I was approached and accused of “almost tearing a third party’s arm off” in a revolving door. The approaching individual was behaving extremely aggressively. I apologized and…..WALKED AWAY. The individual continued to stare at me, though the glass, from outside the building.

    Now, I’m not sure how familiar you are, Gene, with the vulnerability I felt at that and many moments. I spent three years in constant terror that everything I was working for might be taken from me if pretty much any individual decided they wanted to take it away from me. You see, Gene, there are a great many miserable people in the world. Some are passively intolerant. Some believe that they have the right to judge ungently. “You know only the facts, thus you judge unjustly”. Some people just love to point fingers. I’m glad you’re such a good person Gene. You sound like it.
    Because of people with attitudes similar to yours, Gene, it sometimes does not matter if I “get it”. Because I’ve been a sh*t head in the past, people like you get to take a poke at me any time they choose, from the comfort of their moral high ground.

    Fact: I was reporting an unusual and aggressive approach by a stranger on campus.

    Fact: I minimized the situation effectively, with no further incident.

    Fact: I am experiencing the societal consequences for the choices I have made.

    Fact: I am not the one blaming my P.O.

    Posit: When you look for something, have already decided it must be there, you may not be willing to admit that it is not.

    I’m resigned to the possibility that others may only see me certain ways. Normally, I try not to care too much.

    There are a few beliefs that seem to be popular subscriptions these days- There is no god-for instance. Another, is that people can’t change. What, then, if you were to have been caught for one of those “things you won’t admit to”, Gene. Would those be “moments of indiscretion”? You haven’t gotten caught. That’s all.
    I did. I got caught being wrong. I WAS wrong.

    We ARE different. I know I’m not better than another.

    I am trying to be better than myself.

    Yesterday sucked because I sucked on a different yesterday.

    Today I have to study.

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  19. The Villain January 7, 2009 / 4:43 pm
    This to Allison: Do you really think a man would have approached you, aggressively, to confront you about the speed which you move through a revolving door? Most guys don’t treat with women in the same manner they do men. To be unfair, I’m guessing you’re white, and just a check of how honest you are with yourself, do you think that people behave the same toward you as they do toward a 6’tall, 185lb, athletically built, black male? Apples and oranges aren’t even in it. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to go through life with my general description and not get into any situations. Rather, I’m saying that when the world looks at you, it sees something very different than what it sees when it looks at me. People probably react SLIGHTLY differently to each of us. The culmination of our relationships with the world around us have probably resulted in SLIGHTLY different experiences and expectations.
    I’m a little old to give my carriage an effective overhaul. Maybe I could smile more. I don’t know.

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  20. The Villain January 7, 2009 / 5:26 pm
    Yo Dad,(here’s hoping you consider New YORK-ian Ebonic vernacular CULTURED enough)

    Maybe it’s just me, but you seem to suggest that your friend’s Cornell education( and the status that it in turn suggests) and derivative social status, as a reason for leniency, rather than the opposite.

    Funny, criminologists agree on a central theme regarding “white collar crime”,: always motivated by greed.

    You see, your friend was probably well fed at the time of his decision to double dip. He can’t claim desperation, nor having reacted poorly in a time of crisis. He was greedy.

    Everyone in prison gets his mail read. Sometimes it’s late, or even withheld–Lucasville riots ring a bell?– so that’s just the way it is when you DECIDE THAT THE RULES DON’T APPLY TO YOU.

    How much did your friend rip off? more than the value of a stereo I’ll wager. Granted, received above the median sentence for most white collar crimes, but I need you to twist things in a manner that makes anything he did better than the guy in the cell next to him having received stolen property. Do you even know the stats on the annual societal cost of white collar crime(avg.) vs. the “sweaty masses” variety? Again, I’ll wager not.

    I made a verbal threat to a cop while I was so drunk I could barely sit upright. I got three years in gangland. I have no excuse either, but at least I didn’t plan it out the way your Cornell friend had to have, minutes, hours, days, and probably weeks to change his mind. He thought about. He weighed the risks against the payoff… and he chose.

    In my opinion, in some ways, your guy is the worst sort. Protected by the people who structure the laws to be lenient on those of their class. Don’t you dare try to moralize the differences in penalties between types of crime.

    Yeah. Your guy wasn’t looking for any handouts. No siree.
    He just helped himself.

    The fact that you didn’t disclose his race, but pointed out that he “is not black”, noting that he speaks with “cultured english” means that your dude is of foreign origin (1st gen probably), of a race that you clearly deem superior to A.A.’s. but that some judge may not put quite on par with white. Might have been the reason for above the median sentence (while I’m getting all racial).

    I could be wrong( or in “technical violation” of the truth).

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  21. Dad January 7, 2009 / 6:18 pm
    You misunderstood my posting, Villain. I was replying to Gene’s posting that said “if you have the cash, they don’t screw with you.” That’s why I did not bother to say that my friend is white. I do not know what his crime was — and white-collar crime does not necessarily mean that it involved money.

    I think you got screwed and I think my friend did.

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  22. Gene January 7, 2009 / 6:30 pm
    That is your defense, if you call it that……..

    People may JUDGE you as something (in this case as a criminal) bc, well, you are a criminal. Maybe people are smarter than you think. People who do time carry it in their shoulders.

    I can judge you – David made it a point to bring you up, not me. He is judging PO’s and the State and Police, I am judging you from your past actions. Intelligent people do this all the time. I am sizing people up and making judgements about people all the time – both good and bad. EVERY HUMAN does this. This is how we tell things apart. From light on to light off. Cold to Hot. Big to Little. Everyone does this. This is how we survive.

    That does not mean you are a bad person, just a person who seems to find trouble. I lived in rough neighborhoods, and judging people was a matter of survival and trust. I generally do not trust criminals – sorry.

    I wish you the best. Study. Work Hard. Smile and laugh as often as you can. NEVER ARGUE WITH ANYONE, don’t walk away, run. And laugh while you run. BC time in is not worth it.

    People judge me all the time. That is life. I accept it and laugh it off, well, bc I can. I have never committed a real crime, speeding and j-walking, that is about it. I don’t do drugs, I don’t get in fights, I don’t carry weapons, I don’t threaten people.

    You are right about white collar crimes. Nothing makes me more sick to think that someone is drinking coffee thinking about how to fuc* me out of my hard earned money. But stealing my stereo does not make happy either.

    May you have peace and joy in your life.

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  23. Larkin January 8, 2009 / 8:47 am
    Someone must be having a two for one sale on passing judgment. Whatever happnened to giving someone the benefit of the doubt? Don’t answer that question, Gene, it’s rhetorical.

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